Holidaymakers affected by the collapse of holiday company Thomas Cook are being offered assistance by West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway - including free travel or refunded tickets to and from Birmingham or Liverpool airports.
Following today's news of the company entering administration, rescue flights are being arranged by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Government to bring back more than 150,000 British passengers stranded abroad. Given the logistical issues of repatriating so many people, passengers have been warned there are no guarantees every flight will be able to return them to the airport they left from.
While all train companies have already agreed to allow passengers booked on their services to travel on an alternative service, West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway have gone one step further by offering free travel to displaced Thomas Cook customers dropped at a different airport. The companies have also pledged refund train tickets which were bought for holidays which are no longer going ahead and are not covered by travel insurance.
Andy Camp, commercial director for West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway, said: "Following the collapse of Thomas Cook we know there will be a lot of stress for passengers as they try to make alternative arrangements to get home or replan their upcoming holidays.
"With both Liverpool John Lennon and Birmingham International airports on our network we want to do our part to help those who have been affected or displaced by this sad situation."
To claim their free travel on West Midlands Railway or London Northwestern Railway services, passengers should show relevant Thomas Cook documentation to senior conductors.
For cancelled holidays, passengers' travel insurance should cover the cost of any rail tickets, but if customers experience difficulties with this they should contact WMR / LNR. The refund will apply even if the ticket type is usually non-refundable.
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About West Midlands Trains
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West Midlands Trains operates both West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway services.
- London Northwestern Railway services operate between Liverpool and Birmingham, and on the West Coast mainline to and from London Euston.
- West Midlands Railway services operate to destinations across the West Midlands via Birmingham New Street.
The West Midlands Trains franchise started on 10 December 2017 and will run until 2025/26.
West Midlands Trains operates 1,300 services a day, manages 150 stations and provides over 70 million passenger journeys a year. Over the course of the franchise, West Midlands Trains will be investing £1 billion into the rail network to deliver new trains, improved routes and station upgrades. This will include 400 new train carriages across the network and space for an extra 85,000 passengers into Birmingham and London at peak times.
The franchise is a joint venture between Abellio (70.1% share) and East Japan Railway Company / Mitsui & Co., Ltd (29.9% share in a 50:50 split). Abellio is the international passenger transport subsidiary of the Dutch national railway company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen. In the UK, Abelllio operates ScotRail and Greater Anglia train services, Merseyrail services in a joint venture with Serco and buses through Abellio London. For more information visit www.abellio.com
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